Your Voice

I was browsing social media, as I usually do most days, and I came across this video of Oprah interviewing Trevor Noah for some show of hers or another. If you don’t know who Trevor Noah is, he’s a late night news comedian from South Africa. I personally find him quite funny but also very intelligent. So I was listening to this interview and he gushed about his mother and how she groomed him to be the man he is today. Then Oprah asked him about how he feels he wants to be portrayed to the world through sharing the news cause his whole goal is to share the news in a fun, sometimes serious (depending on the topic) way. He said something that really resonated it with me and I kind of want to break it down with my thoughts and get some of your input in return.

The first thing he said was:

Human beings no longer see human beings on the other side of discussion… and it’s tough to say that one side should be empathetic to the other side when the other side doesn’t see them as human beings either.

First off, I thought this was quite an interesting thing to say because it definitely got me thinking about the way in which I engage in discussion with other people and how I normally react depending on the topic. I can’t necessarily say that I disregard what or how another individual says or thinks because I consider myself every open minded but I can admit I feel a sense of pause when it comes to certain topics. Obviously, this is natural because we all have our strong views, morals, ethics on certain topics especially when we’re crazy passionate about them. But I wonder if I’ve ever made someone feel less than human because I was driving my passionate vision on to them.

It made me think about this author/reader/publishing debacle that’s currently trending, at least on my Twitter. I won’t name names but basically there are authors out there who participate in manipulating readers into sympathizing or empathizing with whatever is going on in their life to the point that they walk a fine line of receiving things they didn’t necessarily earn. I know that kind of sounds like a jumble but ultimately it’s kind of equivalent to a person freely transferring all the kindness and support inside of them to an individual without the expectation of reciprocity but end up being used in the end. This kind of thing makes me wonder when that individual stopped seeing you as that generous human being and into something less inferior.

The other thing he said that resonated was:

If your character shifts because of who’s in power, was it your character to begin with?

In regards to his quote he’s relating it to politics but when I heard that, the two words I froze on was “character” and “shifts”. I was thinking about this for the rest of the day and on the drive home I asked my husband, “how do you define your character?” I explained to him the context in which I heard this and he said to me that he believes people’s characters fluctuate based on perspective and experience but at an individual’s core, it usually stays the same.

I have to agree in that respect. I think character is definitely fluid. I mean the word “characteristics” is derived from the world character itself. I tried to think of it like a character in a book where usually you have a hero, villain, or anti-hero. You go into it knowing what to expect and hope that the characters stay true to themselves. If they’re introduced as douchebags, I hope they stay that way throughout or die (cause I’m evil). Do I like happily ever afters? Sure. But I don’t want all my books and movies to be that way. When it comes to real life however, my hopes are completely opposite. The character I meet in the world, I hope they stay consistent with their views towards me. I realize, again that character is fluid so we are bound to change here and there but I guess I like to surround myself with characters with open wide minds, and I don’t mean about their personal lives, because that comes with time, but just in general.

I don’t set out to change a person’s character because I disagree with something they say or how they view the world but I hope that I could plant one tiny little seed in their mind that could maybe, just maybe, if not shift their views towards the middle a bit but at least get them thinking about someone or something other than themselves. Is that wrong? Do you think that goes back to not seeing the other as a human being? It’s quite interesting how these concepts are intertwined.

Like with most subjects, I could go on and on and on about what I’m thinking but we’re coming up on 860 words and I want to know what you all think. I’ll link to the Youtube clip below were I copied pasta’d the quotes if you’re interested in watching it. Again, he relates it to politics but I thought beyond that scope. Hit me with it in the comments below!

(Source: Youtube)

You’ve Gotta Watch This!

My co-author and I have spent many days, nights, and weekends fighting our way through Downton Abbey. I originally began watching it years ago when it first aired on PBS. (I didn’t have cable at the time – and still rarely watch anything besides sports.) When I met Chanel she opened my eyes to the wonderful world of books and TV shows. I’ve always loved to read but was told, at times, that it was a “waste unless you were bettering yourself”. Now, I argue you can learn something from almost each one you pick up!

A few months ago I was doing dishes waiting for my boyfriend to get home and opened my computer. I realized that we had Amazon Prime when my Netflix subscription ran out. …and Downton was the first thing that popped up on the watch list. Knowing I had gotten way behind on the original airing I rewatched from the beginning. Chanel did the same.

Originally, I was interested because of the historical content. (I also just watched my dog eating from a flower pot outside. How nice.) The more episodes I saw the more in depth each relationship and side story became. I was completely and totally enthralled with the idea of living as an English monarch and what troubles came with that title.

I finished the last episode a few weeks ago and I still haven’t quite…recovered. I think that’s probably the appropriate word. My life was filled with the wonder and elegance from Downton for months and now I’m watching Curb Your Enthusiasm to help cope.

I think my most favorite character from the show is probably Aunt Violet, The Dowager Countess. She’s famous for one liners that can shut you down or make you sing – and I absolutely adore her. I think, to some degree, everyone can agree with her on this…

 “Principles are like prayers: noble, of course, but awkward at a party.”  

If you’re looking for something new to watch this is an awesome show. Give it a few episodes before you make your own decision – but it’s something I’d watch again from start to finish. If you do pick it up, or have watched it, let us know your thoughts and favorite characters/episodes. We’d love to hear them! 🙂

I Don’t Doubt It…

I got a call late last night from a dear friend who told me she’s likely getting a divorce. As I sat up in bed to focus on the call and her situation, I realized how I felt when I was in her shoes. As a young person who has also been divorced, I know the thoughts of doubt, hurt and uncertainty that she was having. The longer I spoke with her (and then her sister) I also began to understand why I never doubted my own divorce.

I got married right after turning 20 to someone who I had spent the prior 5 years dating. We were married for 3 years before I pulled the plug. My friend is in a similar boat – she married at 18 and is now facing the reality of a pending divorce at 25. I could hear how worried and scared she was just thinking of starting over on her own. …and I know that I was once there, too.

However, looking back, I can see that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve grown more from my divorce than anything else I’ve experienced. Only through that experience did I learn not to doubt my integrity, character, and hard work. I began to see my value and worth outside of my appearance and the things I owned. I learned what it meant to be a real friend and how truly special it is to find those real friends.

…and now to one of my very best friends, I am able to stand alone and tell her that I cannot and will not Doubt  her decisions. I will be beside her to hold her hand and to laugh with her through the good times and the bad. Real friends care about truth and happiness.

The truth is: I don’t doubt that it will hurt and I don’t doubt that she will be stronger, wiser, and better because of this.